NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — Last summer, Toni Spring was in the early stages of breast cancer. Consultations with two different doctors convinced her to schedule a mastectomy.

Before going in for surgery, Spring met with Dr. Freya Schnable, of NYU Langone Medical Center, who suggested that she get a lumpectomy and undergo radiation therapy instead.

“They take a marker and they mark up your whole body. It puts into reality that you’re getting carved up and re-attached and all kinds of things,” Spring told CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez.

Spring said that knowing that she could get a lumpectomy made her feel “empowered.”

Researchers from Duke University recently found that out of 112,000 women in California who were suffering from early stage breast cancer, the patients who received lumpectomies and radiation were 14 percent less likely to die than those who had mastectomies.

Schnable said she hopes that the Duke findings will help squash what she calls a long-standing myth surrounding breast cancer.

“There may be a situation where some people think that because a mastectomy is a bigger operation and more tissue is removed that in some way it represents a better cancer treatment, and I think the current study says no it doesn’t,” the doctor told CBS 2.

The study was only observational. Researchers did not find a specific reason why the women who had lumpectomies had higher survival rates.

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